Breast Cancer Avatars on Second Life?

Indeed. You can have have virtual breast cancer, wear pink t-shirts, attend pink ribbon fund raising events, and even go to a support group. I’m speechless. Luckily, Anna Rachnel who writes The Cancer Culture Chronicles is not. What follows is Rachnel’s post about second life, titled “Virtual Breast Cancer.”

Virtual Breast Cancer by Anna Rachnel (October 22, 2010)

Today I thought I would take you for a magical mystery ride into a real-life Bizarro World.  So strap yourself in, sit back and enjoy the ride! Have you heard of Second Life ?  It’s basically social networking in 3-D with a fantasy gaming edge to it.  So you can create a 3-D avatar for yourself, choose your name, look, clothes etc and inhabit a virtual world of your choosing.  You can do all the things that you would do in normal life, like shopping, meeting people, decorate a house, run a business, have a relationship and…..wait for it……have breast cancer !!!!

You can even send your avatar to a virtual support group where you’ll be met by a virtual breast cancer counselor, and you can invite all your little virtual friends to a virtual breast cancer awareness fundraising event at something called Club Coalesce, where all the virtual money raised goes to helping run the virtual breast cancer support group that you attend in fighting your virtual breast cancer.

Now I don’t know about you, but this struck me as completely and utterly bizarre. If you wanted to inhabit a Utopian world, full of handsome manly men and perfectly proportioned and unrealistically sized women, why on earth would you want cancer to be part of that perfectly proportioned fantastic unreal virtual reality?

 The creators of Second Life aren’t in it for free. It’s a business. And within the Second Life world, you can run a virtual business and earn Linden dollars (yes  it’s a virtual currency), and then use your $L profits to purchase more virtual stuff for your perfect little virtual world. So wouldn’t you know it? The Breast Cancer Awareness pink ribbon profit-making business has made it to the Second Life Marketplace.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous right ?

Now just in case anyone’s starting to feel a little teary at the thought of all those poor little virtual buxom breast cancer victims, and the virtual Breast Cancer Awareness Party Box just isn’t cheering you up, there is a place you can go to find virtual solace in your now slightly imperfect virtual world. Yes! A virtual Breast Cancer Tribute Garden “located within the beautiful Gardens of Absentia, this special area sets out to raise awareness about breast cancer. It is dedicated to remembering both loved ones and survivors of this global disease”.

But have no fear. If you’re now so virtually depressed that you feel like you want to jump off the closest virtual cliff and end your miserable virtual life, I say “don’t do it! “You can fix it and make it all go away. All for the bargain price of $1L. A magical breast cancer wand! Just what I’ve always wanted. If only it were that simple.

Read more of Anna’s insights on The Cancer Culture Chronicles.
Be Sociable, Share!

1 comment to Breast Cancer Avatars on Second Life?

  • Gayle – I’m sure there aren’t many instances that you are rendered speechless, but I certainly appreciate it in this case. Many thanks for featuring my blog post. And to leave you with another thought on this topic. I think it’s so interesting, nay frightening, that given a chance to create from scratch an alternative existence in an alternative universe (albeit virtual), that Breast Cancer wasn’t one of the things that the Creators chose to leave out. What does this really say ????

To speak her truth, she needed to give her words and identity away, to a trusted poet and friend @stevedavenport breastcancerconsortium.net/ov…

“Pink Ribbon Blues”

Paperback includes a new Introduction on fundraising controversies and a color insert with images of, and reactions to, the pinking of breast cancer (2012).


Praise » 

Flyer »

Press Release »

Hardback Cover »

Paperback Cover »

Request Review Copies »

Order the Paperback »

* GAYLE IN THE MEDIA *

"Seeing clearly through the pink haze" Toronto Sun

*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer" New Scientist

How should we address breast cancer when norms continually change? The Guardian

Your Fun 'No Bra Day' Photos Are Overshadowing Terminal Breast Cancer Patients Broadly

Backlash against “pinkwashing” of breast cancer awareness campaigns BMJ

Breast Cancer to Rise 50 Percent by 2030? Hey, Not So Fast! Health News Review

Breast Cancer: The Flaws in the Cause iafrica.com

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations Money

The Very Pink, Very Controversial Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Racked

NFL, Pink Ribbons Not Enough to Win over Women CNN

3 Questions We Need to Answer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month Chronicle of Philanthropy

The problem with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Women's Health Magazine

Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer The Nib

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Time to Debunk the Mammography Myth CNN

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Why Jolie's Test Costs So Much CNN

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception BlogTalkRadio

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' KCRW

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer The New York Times Magazine.

The Story Behind the Pink Ribbon Campaign Sisters Talk Radio

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Making Cancer About The Patient, Not The Body Part CBS Pittsburgh

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

The perils of pink The Daily

Komen pink campaign creates breast-cancer blues for some Dallas Morning News

A yellow flag for the NFL's pink New York Daily

Gayle Sulik named #7 in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer cancer causes so easily derailed Philly Inquirer

Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science Reuters

The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion? Salon.com

Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood. In Deep with Angie Coiro

Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue? NPR's All Things Considered

How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health? America’s Radio News Network

Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer The Kojo Nnamdi Show

The Big Business of Breast Cancer
Marie Claire

Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases? Slate

Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red The Sacramento Bee

Get Your Pink Off Ottawa Citizen

Komen Pink Ribbons Raise Green and Questions USA Today

** MORE MEDIA LINKS **
** MORE RADIO INTERVIEWS **